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Proof of heaven popular, except with the church
They claim that they’ve glimpsed heaven but survivors of near-death experiences face a surprising skeptic: the church.
May 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Proof of heaven popular, except with the church

By John Blake, CNN

“God, help me!”

Eben Alexander shouted and flailed as hospital orderlies tried to hold him in place. But no one could stop his violent seizures, and the 54-year-old neurosurgeon went limp as his horrified wife looked on.

That moment could have been the end. But Alexander says it was just the beginning. He found himself soaring toward a brilliant white light tinged with gold into “the strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen.”

Alexander calls that world heaven, and he describes his journey in “Proof of Heaven,” which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 27 weeks. Alexander says he used to be an indifferent churchgoer who ignored stories about the afterlife. But now he knows there’s truth to those stories, and there’s no reason to fear death.

“Not one bit,” he said. “It’s a transition; it’s not the end of anything. We will be with our loved ones again.”

Heaven used to be a mystery, a place glimpsed only by mystics and prophets. But popular culture is filled with firsthand accounts from all sorts of people who claim that they, too, have proofs of heaven after undergoing near-death experiences.

Yet the popularity of these stories raises another question: Why doesn’t the church talk about heaven anymore?

Preachers used to rhapsodize about celestial streets of gold while congregations sang joyful hymns like “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” But the most passionate accounts of heaven now come from people outside the church or on its margins.

Most seminaries don’t teach courses on heaven; few big-name pastors devote much energy to preaching or writing about the subject; many ordinary pastors avoid the topic altogether out of embarrassment, indifference or fear, scholars and pastors say.

“People say that the only time they hear about heaven is when they go to a funeral,” said Gary Scott Smith, author of “Heaven in the American Imagination” and a history professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

Talk of heaven shouldn’t wait, though, because it answers a universal question: what happens when we die, says the Rev. John Price, author of “Revealing Heaven,” which offers a Christian perspective of near-death experiences.

“Ever since people started dying, people have wondered, where did they go? Where are they now? Is this what happens to me?” said Price, a retired pastor and hospital chaplain.

A little girl’s revelation

Price didn’t always think heaven was so important. He scoffed at reports of near-death experiences because he thought they reduced religion to ghost stories. Besides, he was too busy helping grieving families to speculate about the afterlife.

His attitude changed, though, after a young woman visited his Episcopal church one Sunday with her 3-year-old daughter.

Price had last seen the mother three years earlier. She had brought her then-7-week-old daughter to the church for baptism. Price hadn't heard from her since. But when she reappeared, she told Price an amazing story.

She had been feeding her daughter a week after the baptism when milk dribbled out of the infant's mouth and her eyes rolled back into her head. The woman rushed her daughter to the emergency room, where she was resuscitated and treated for a severe upper respiratory infection.

Three years later, the mother was driving past the same hospital with her daughter when the girl said, “Look, Mom, that’s where Jesus brought me back to you.”

“The mother nearly wrecked her car,” Price said. “She never told her baby about God, Jesus, her near-death experience, nothing. All that happened when the girl was 8 weeks old. How could she remember that?”

When Price started hearing similar experiences from other parishioners, he felt like a fraud. He realized that he didn’t believe in heaven, even though it was part of traditional Christian doctrine.

He started sharing near-death stories he heard with grieving families and dejected hospital workers who had lost patients. He told them dying people had glimpsed a wonderful world beyond this life.

The stories helped people, Price said, and those who've had similar experiences of heaven should “shout them from the rooftops.”

“I’ve gone around to many churches to talk about this, and the venue they give me is just stuffed,” he said. “People are really hungry for it.”

Why pastors are afraid of heaven

Many pastors, though, don’t want to touch the subject because it’s too dangerous, says Lisa Miller, author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.”

Miller cites the experience of Rob Bell, one of the nation’s most popular evangelical pastors.

John Price ignored heaven until he met a woman with an amazing story.

Bell ignited a firestorm two years ago when he challenged the teaching that only Christians go to heaven in “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

The book angered many members of Bell’s church as well as many in the evangelical establishment. He subsequently resigned.

“Farewell, Rob Bell,” one prominent evangelical tweeted.

“It’s a tough topic for a pastor,” said Miller, a former religion columnist for the Washington Post. “If you get too literal, you can risk sounding too silly. If you don’t talk about it, you’re evading one of the most important questions about theology and why people come to church.”

If pastors do talk about stories of near-death experiences, they can also be seen as implying that conservative doctrine – only those who confess their faith in Jesus get to heaven, while others suffer eternal damnation – is wrong, scholars and pastors say.

Many of those who share near-death stories aren’t conservative Christians but claim that they, too, have been welcomed by God to heaven.

“Conservative Christians aren’t the only ones going to heaven," said Price, "and that makes them mad."

There was a time, though, when the church talked a lot more about the afterlife.

Puritan pastors in the 17th and 18th centuries often preached about heaven, depicting it as an austere, no fuss-place where people could commune with God.

African-American slaves sang spirituals about heaven like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” They often depicted it as a place of ultimate payback: Slaves would escape their humiliation and, in some cases, rule over their former masters.

America’s fixation with heaven may have peaked around the Civil War. The third most popular book in 18th century America – behind the Bible and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – was "Gates Ajar," written in the wake of the war, Miller says.

The 1868 novel was “The Da Vinci Code” of its day, Miller says. It revolved around a grieving woman who lost her brother in the Civil War. A sympathetic aunt assures her that her brother is waiting in heaven, a bucolic paradise where people eat sumptuous meals, dogs sun themselves on porches and people laugh with their loved ones.

“This was a vision of heaven that was so appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who had lost people in the Civil War,” Miller said.

Americans needed heaven because life was so hard: People didn’t live long, infant mortality was high, and daily life was filled with hard labor.

“People were having 12 kids, and they would outlive 11 of them,” said Smith, author of "Heaven in the American Imagination." “Death was ever-present.”

The church eventually stopped talking about heaven, though, for a variety of reasons: the rise of science; the emergence of the Social Gospel, a theology that encouraged churches to create heaven on Earth by fighting for social justice; and the growing affluence of Americans. (After all, who needs heaven when you have a flat-screen TV, a smartphone and endless diversions?)

But then a voice outside the church rekindled Americans' interest in the afterlife. A curious 23-year-old medical student would help make heaven cool again.

The father of near-death experiences

Raymond Moody had been interested in the afterlife long before it was fashionable.

He was raised in a small Georgia town during World War II where death always seemed just around the corner. He constantly heard stories about soldiers who never returned from war. His father was a surgeon who told him stories of bringing back patients from the brink of death. In college, he was enthralled when he read one of the oldest accounts of a near-death experience, a soldier’s story told by Socrates in Plato’s “Republic.”

His fascination with the afterlife was sealed one day when he heard a speaker who would change his life.

The speaker was George Ritchie, a psychiatrist. Moody would say later of Ritchie, “He had that look of someone who had just finished a long session of meditation and didn’t have a care in the world.”

Moody sat in the back of a fraternity room as Ritchie told his story.

It was December 1943, and Ritchie was in basic training with the U.S. Army at Camp Barkeley, Texas. He contracted pneumonia and was placed in the hospital infirmary, where his temperature spiked to 107. The medical staff piled blankets on top of Ritchie’s shivering body, but he was eventually pronounced dead.

“I could hear the doctor give the order to prep me for the morgue, which was puzzling, because I had the sensation of still being alive,” Ritchie said.

He even remembers rising from a hospital gurney to talk to the hospital staff. But the doctors and nurses walked right through him when he approached them.

He then saw his lifeless body in a room and began weeping when he realized he was dead. Suddenly, the room brightened “until it seemed as though a million welding torches were going off around me.”

He says he was commanded to stand because he was being ushered into the presence of the Son of God. There, he saw every minute detail of his life flash by, including his C-section birth. He then heard a voice that asked, “What have you done with your life?"

After hearing Ritchie’s story, Moody decided what he was going to do with his life: investigate the afterlife.

Raymond Moody revived interest in heaven by studying near-death experiences.

He started collecting stories of people who had been pronounced clinically dead but were later revived. He noticed that the stories all shared certain details: traveling through a tunnel, greeting family and friends who had died, and meeting a luminous being that gave them a detailed review of their life and asked them whether they had spent their life loving others.

Moody called his stories “near-death experiences,” and in 1977 he published a study of them in a book, “Life after Life.” His book has sold an estimated 13 million copies.

Today, he is a psychiatrist who calls himself “an astronaut of inner space.” He is considered the father of the near-death-experience phenomenon.

He says science, not religion, resurrected the afterlife. Advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation meant that patients who would have died were revived, and many had stories to share.

“Now that we have these means for snatching people back from the edge, these stories are becoming more amazing,” said Moody, who has written a new book, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife.”

“A lot of medical doctors know about this from their patients, but they’re just afraid to talk about it in public.”

Ritchie’s story was told through a Christian perspective. But Moody says stories about heaven transcend religion. He's collected them from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.

“A lot of people talk about encountering a being of light,” he said. “Christians call it Christ. Jewish people say it’s an angel. I’ve gone to different continents, and you can hear the same thing in China, India and Japan about meeting a being of complete love and compassion.”

It’s not just what people see in the afterlife that makes these stories so powerful, he says. It’s how they live their lives once they survive a near-death experience.

Many people are never the same, Moody says. They abandon careers that were focused on money or power for more altruistic pursuits.

“Whatever they had been chasing, whether it's power, money or fame, their experience teaches them that what this (life) is all about is teaching us to love,” Moody said.

Under 'the gaze of a God'

Alexander, the author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to fit Moody's description. He’s a neurosurgeon, but he spends much of time now speaking about his experience instead of practicing medicine.

He'd heard strange stories over the years of revived heart attack patients traveling to wonderful landscapes, talking to dead relatives and even meeting God. But he never believed those stories. He was a man of science, an Episcopalian who attended church only on Easter and Christmas.

That changed one November morning in 2008 when he was awakened in his Lynchburg, Virginia, home by a bolt of pain shooting down his spine. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a disease so rare, he says, it afflicts only one in 10 million adults.

After his violent seizures, he lapsed into a coma — and there was little hope for his survival. But he awakened a week later with restored health and a story to tell.

He says what he experienced was “too beautiful for words.” The heaven he describes is not some disembodied hereafter. It’s a physical place filled with achingly beautiful music, waterfalls, lush fields, laughing children and running dogs.

In his book, he describes encountering a transcendent being he alternately calls “the Creator” or “Om.” He says he never saw the being's face or heard its voice; its thoughts were somehow spoken to him.

“It understood humans, and it possessed the qualities we possess, only in infinitely greater measure. It knew me deeply and overflowed with qualities that all my life I’ve always associated with human beings and human beings alone: warmth, compassion, pathos … even irony and humor.”

Holly Alexander says her husband couldn’t forget the experience.

“He was driven to write 12 hours a day for three years,” she said. “It began as a diary. Then he thought he would write a medical paper; then he realized that medical science could not explain it all.”

“Proof of Heaven” debuted at the top of The New York Times bestseller list and has sold 1.6 million copies, according to its publisher.

Alexander says he didn’t know how to deal with his otherworldly journey at first.

“I was my own worst skeptic,” he said. “I spent an immense amount of time trying to come up with ways my brain might have done this.”

Conventional medical science says consciousness is rooted in the brain, Alexander says. His medical records indicated that his neocortex — the part of the brain that controls thought, emotion and language — had ceased functioning while he was in a coma.

Alexander says his neocortex was “offline” and his brain “wasn’t working at all” during his coma. Yet he says he reasoned, experienced emotions, embarked on a journey — and saw heaven.

“Those implications are tremendous beyond description,” Alexander wrote. “My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness; that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us.”

Skeptics say Alexander’s experience can be explained by science, not the supernatural.

They cite experiments where neurologists in Switzerland induced out-of-body experiences in a woman suffering from epilepsy through electrical stimulation of the right side of her brain.

Michael Shermer, founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine, says the U.S. Navy also conducted studies with pilots that reproduced near-death experiences. Pilots would often black out temporarily when their brains were deprived of oxygen during training, he says.

These pilots didn’t go to heaven, but they often reported seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel, a floating sensation and euphoria when they returned to consciousness, Shermer says.

“Whatever experiences these people have is actually in their brain. It’s not out there in heaven,” Shermer said.

Some people who claim to see heaven after dying didn’t really die, says Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things.”

“They’re called near-death experiences for a reason: They’re near death but not dead,” Shermer said. “In that fuzzy state, it’s not dissimilar to being asleep and awakened where people have all sorts of transitory experiences that seem very real.”

The boy who saw Jesus

Skeptics may scoff at a story like Alexander’s, but their popularity has made a believer out of another group: the evangelical publishing industry.

While the church may be reluctant to talk about heaven, publishers have become true believers. The sales figures for books on heaven are divine: Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven” has sold 5 million copies. And “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is the latest publishing juggernaut.

Colton Burpo says he saw heaven and describes the color of Jesus' eyes.

“Heaven is for Real” has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 126 consecutive weeks and sold 8 million copies, according to its publisher.

The story is told from the perspective of Colton Burpo, who was just 4 when he slipped into unconsciousness while undergoing emergency surgery for a burst appendix.

Colton says he floated above his body during the operation and soared to heaven, where he met Jesus. Todd Burpo, Colton’s father, says he was skeptical about his son’s story until his son described meeting a great-grandfather and a miscarried baby sister — something no one had ever told him about.

Todd Burpo is a pastor, but he says he avoided preaching about heaven because he didn’t know enough about the subject.

“It’s pretty awkward,” he said. “Here I am the pastor, but I’m not the teacher on the subject. My son is teaching me.”

Colton is now 13 and says he still remembers meeting Jesus in heaven.

“He had brown hair, a brown beard to match and a smile brighter than any smile I’ve ever seen,’’ he said. “His eyes were sea-blue, and they were just, wow.”

Colton says he’s surprised by the success of his book, which has been translated into 35 languages. There’s talk of a movie, too.

“It’s totally a God thing,” he said.

Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to have the same attitude: His new life is a gift. He’s already writing another book on his experience.

“Once I realized what my journey was telling me," he said, "I knew I had to tell the story.”

He now attends church but says his faith is not dogmatic.

“I realized very strongly that God loves all of God’s children,” he said. “Any religion that claims to be the true one and the rest of them are wrong is wrong.”

Central to his story is something he says he heard in heaven.

During his journey, he says he was accompanied by an angelic being who gave him a three-part message to share on his return.

When he heard the message, he says it went through him “like a wind” because he instantly knew it was true.

It’s the message he takes today to those who wonder who, or what, they will encounter after death.

The angel told him:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith • God • Heaven • History

soundoff (4,945 Responses)
  1. Arthur Bryant

    Flaming Foliage? Good name for a gay rock band.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  2. blubfishblub

    Tell me if Google, Yahoo, or any other search site is better.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  3. zzzzzzzzzz

    Google,Google,Google. All Google from here down.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  4. One

    I agree.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  5. baylj98

    Choose this day whom you will serve. Either God, or the devil. I choose to serve Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who also began the Church. Believe in Him, and you will be saved from the fires of Hell and the outer darkness. I have no idea why I am posting this message, unless it is to save a few souls. May all of you find peace in your hearts.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Baylj - did you read the article ?
      "It’s the message he takes today to those who wonder who, or what, they will encounter after death.
      The angel told him:
      “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”
      “You have nothing to fear.”
      “There is nothing you can do wrong." "

      Seems you have conflicting opinions as to heaven and hell -
      How will you ever know who's right?
      Isn't fear GREAT?

      - NOT -

      May 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      "I have no idea why I am posting this message..."

      To make yourself feel better about the doubts you feel? That's just my guess.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Uh oh! baylj98, you forgot to mention the other, more logical choice: choosing not to serve any mythological creature whatsoever.

      That's the choice I've made, and I'm sticking to it.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  6. aallen333

    You have to wonder what it will take to wake some people up. A minister once had a vision from God where he saw a great crowd of people. All of the people were walking in the same direction. Those in the rear and middle seemed carefree as they walked, oblivious to what was going on ahead. However, at the front something heartbreaking was taking place. What those in the middle and rear failed to realize was that those in the front had came to the edge of a cliff that fell off into a huge sea of fire. But when those at the edge tried to turn around an go back, the shear numbers of the push of those behind them forced them over the edge. The minister watched in horror as people woke up too late in horror trying in vain to push back against the crowd only to inevitably be thrust over the side. This went on non-stop as more and more people entered the crowd causing those who were once in the rear to move to the middle and those in the middle to move to the front where the screams of those going over was the last thing they heard before they too were forced over the edge.

    May 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Chuckles

      That little story might work to frighten children, but honestly, do you think for one second that actually makes sense?

      There are plenty of people that are sheep and just follow the crowd, but we have this thing called language. It's a wonderful thing really. It lets us communicate with one another and let people know if there's danger. If there was cliff people were walking over you would think someone would turn around and be like "Hey everyone! There's a cliff here!" It might not save the very front people, but do you honestly think that thousands or millions of however big of group you are imagining in this little tale would keep walking and disregard all warnings of danger?

      You must have an incredibly low opinion of every person you meet.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      How did the minister know it was a vision from god?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Athy

      How do you know the minister actually had the vision?

      May 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      aallen sez:
      " bla bla bla ... forced over the edge."
      But jesus loves you and wants you to be with him

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Athy

      How do you know the minister's vision wasn't just a dream?

      May 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Finni McFinger

      Those were some great 'shrooms!

      May 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  7. Knights Who Say...

    ARTHUR: Old crone! Is there anywhere in this town where we could buy
    a [dramatic chord]shrubbery!
    CRONE: Who sent you?
    ARTHUR: The Knights Who Say Nee.
    CRONE: Agh! No! Never! We have no shrubberies here.
    ARTHUR: If you do not tell us where we can buy a shrubbery, my friend
    and I will say... we will say... `nee'.
    CRONE: Agh! Do your worst!
    ARTHUR: Very well! If you will not assist us voluntarily,... nee!
    CRONE: No! Never! No shrubberies!
    ARTHUR: Nee!
    BEDEMIR: Noo! Noo!
    ARTHUR: No, no, no, no - it's not that, it's 'nee'.
    BEDEMIR: Noo!
    ARTHUR: No, no - 'nee'. You're not doing it properly.
    BEDEMIR: Noo! Nee!
    ARTHUR: That's it, that's it, you've got it.
    ARTHUR and BEDEMIR: Nee! Nee!
    ROGER: Are you saying 'nee' to that old woman?
    ARTHUR: Um, yes.
    ROGER: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say `nee'
    at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing
    is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under
    considerable economic stress at this period in history.
    ARTHUR: Did you say `shrubberies'?
    ROGER: Yes, shrubberies are my trade - I am a shrubber. My name
    is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
    BEDEMIR: Nee!
    ARTHUR: No! No, no, no! No!

    May 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      BLACK KNIGHT: I'M INVINCIBLE!

      ARTHUR: You're a looney

      May 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • one

      nee? Nee! NEE! NEE! NEE! NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

      May 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      We are no longer the Knights Who Say "Ni!" We are now the Knights Who Say...Icky-Icky-Icky-Icky-Kapang-Zoop-Boing!

      May 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • one

      That sounds better:)

      May 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • blubfishblub

      Icky-Icky-Icky-Icky-Kapang-Zoop-Boing is longer than a simple... nee.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn9a6_nycng&w=640&h=360]

      May 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  8. Chad

    He says science, not religion, resurrected the afterlife. Advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation meant that patients who would have died were revived, and many had stories to share.
    “Now that we have these means for sna tching people back from the edge, these stories are becoming more amazing,” said Moody, who has written a new book, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife.”

    How does the atheist explain consciousness continuing beyond brain waves ceasing?

    May 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Simple, they don't. The stories people tell are in no way corroborated by anything else and there's a high likelihood that these stories that people have are simply the random brain synapses firing off at the last second before death.

      Do computers sleep Chad? When I press the shutdown button and the computer does a last second scan to shut everything down and turn off, then when I reboot it, it has memory of everything that happened until the nanosecond before it was shutdown, it in no way had consciousness while it was off.

      Is this really the best you got these days? I'll try going easier on you because I guess you're starting to crack.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      CPR revives (as the name explicitly states) the cardiac and respiratory system.
      In cases where it is effective, the brain has not yet ceased to function entirely.

      And how are you so certain that you won't have your heart measured against a Shu feather by Ma'at to determine where you go in the Afterlife?

      May 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @Doc Vestibule "CPR revives (as the name explicitly states) the cardiac and respiratory system. In cases where it is effective, the brain has not yet ceased to function entirely."

      @Chad "that is not true, many docu mented cases of people being revived from being clinically dead, with no brain waves and in cardiac arrest."

      for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_case

      During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which rendered her clinically dead. She made several observations about the procedure which later were confirmed by medical personnel as surprisingly accurate

      May 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "Simple, they don't. The stories people tell are in no way corroborated by anything else.."

      @Chad "not true at all, see above for example..

      cue ad-hominem..

      May 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Memory is a function of a working brain. If the patients remember their experience, then their brains weren't really dead.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Daniel

      "How does the atheist explain consciousness continuing beyond brain waves ceasing?"

      How does the Christian explain advanced medical devices being able to foil God's plans? Or does he know they will be healed but sends them on their temporary heaven journey for fun?

      Beyond that, anyone who has even done a cursory examination of current biology would know that we are finding out new things about the bio-electrical control and storage device we call our brains every day and many neuroscientists have working theories for why some have experienced a sense of consciousness.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ken

      Chad, you're really grasping at straws (as usual). We expect brains to potentially respond to resuscitation even after detectable activity ceases, so long as large scale cell death hasn't happened.

      However, all of the questionable cases you keep presenting us with ought to make you stop and think why there is no clear case that you can present, re the above and re evidence for your god. Better give that some thought. Your beliefs are so far unsupportable.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      No need to use ad hominems, like EnjaySea pointed out, if they did recall that, then their brains weren't dead, either at all or at the time they described the operation. People stay dead if they can't be revived between a 6-10 minute window. You have to consider the length of a surgery (which can take hours) and if a person were to discuss certain aspects of a surgery, it was probably during the time their conscious brain functions hadn't ceased.

      NDE's are recounted all the time, but it literally proves nothing other than some people have better recall or an apti.tude for storytelling more than others.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Science

      A Nobel Prize with help from sea slugs..................memory........chadie !

      By Edythe McNamee and Jacque Wilson, CNN

      updated 7:09 AM EDT, Tue May 14, 2013

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/health/lifeswork-eric-kandel-memory/index.html?iref=allsearch

      You are what chadie !

      May 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Science

      Education....................Bill and Chadie.............really ?

      Moving forward CREATIONIST............chadieie too ............ you might want to take a blood test?

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142915.htm

      Peace

      Facts work .

      May 21, 2013 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |

      May 21, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |

      May 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "if they did recall that, then their brains weren't dead, either at all or at the time they described the operation"
      @Chad "incorrect,

      for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_case
      Her experience is one of the most notable and widely doc umented in near-death studies because of the unusual circu mstances under which it happened. Reynolds was under close medical monitoring during the entire operation. During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which rendered her clinically dead. She made several observations about the procedure which later were confirmed by medical personnel as surprisingly accurate

      ===
      @Chuckles "People stay dead if they can't be revived between a 6-10 minute window."
      @Chad "incorrect, for example:

      A man who was declared clinically dead for 40 minutes was brought back to life thanks to a machine which performed life-saving chest compressions. Three have been revived from being declared clinically dead for 40 to 60 minutes

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2324852/Man-brought-dead-40-minutes-thanks-revolutionary-machine-carries-life-saving-chest-presses.html

      ===
      @Chuckles "You have to consider the length of a surgery (which can take hours) and if a person were to discuss certain aspects of a surgery, it was probably during the time their conscious brain functions hadn't ceased."
      @Chad "incorrect, again..

      During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which rendered her clinically dead. She made several observations about the procedure which later were confirmed by medical personnel as surprisingly accurate

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_case#Timeline

      May 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Look at the example again. Does it mention that the patient said details about the surgery that coincided while her brain functions ceased? No, it says that her brain functions ceased and after she awoke from a NEAR death experience she gave details on the surgery that was surprising.

      You have to actually understand what you post before you post kiddo.

      "@Chad "incorrect, for example:

      A man who was declared clinically dead for 40 minutes was brought back to life thanks to a machine which performed life-saving chest compressions. Three have been revived from being declared clinically dead for 40 to 60 minutes"

      –Apologies, brain dead, which is a whole different kind of dead than clinically dead which is when blood flow ceases. When the brain completely shuts down, the window becomes way smaller. I stand by my original statement with the amendment of brain dead instead of just dead.

      PS at your last part, again Chad, learn what clincally dead means vs. brain dead. Learn the timing of when she gave details about the surgery as compared to when her brain functions stopped.

      Honestly, sometimes I believe you have to be a poe, an idiot or both.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad, you seem to be tenaciously clinglng to this definition of life and death revolving around the ability of these medical devices to detect death, and the flow or lack of flow of blood to the brain.

      Obviously these indicators are not successfully detecting life, because these patients remember their experiences. Do you think these memories are stored in iCloud?

      No. They exist in the brains of the individuals having the experience. They remember their experience, therefore their brains were alive during the experience.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Sscience

      Chuckles..................chadie might not like this or he is a POE ?

      The real Tom...............do a seacrh on google............for this article ........When Christians become a 'hated minority'

      By John Blake, CNN

      It might be the beast.........666.?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/19/proofs-of-heaven-popular-but-not-with-the-church/comment-page-48/#comments

      May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "People stay dead if they can't be revived between a 6-10 minute window."
      @Chad "incorrect, for example:

      A man who was declared clinically dead for 40 minutes was brought back to life thanks to a machine which performed life-saving chest compressions. Three have been revived from being declared clinically dead for 40 to 60 minutes

      @Chuckles "Apologies, brain dead, which is a whole different kind of dead than clinically dead which is when blood flow ceases"

      @Chad "I'll give you a chance to back pedal again as there are multiple accounts of people being brought back from clinically dead, brain dead, dead-dead-dead state for far more than 6-10 minutes..

      ======
      @EnjaySea "Chad, you seem to be tenaciously clinglng to this definition of life and death revolving around the ability of these medical devices to detect death, and the flow or lack of flow of blood to the brain."
      @Chad "um.. you mean I'm clinging to the medical definition?
      hm.. I guess so.. do you have a different definition 😉

      ==
      @EnjaySea "Obviously these indicators are not successfully detecting life, because these patients remember their experiences... No. They exist in the brains of the individuals having the experience. They remember their experience, therefore their brains were alive during the experience."
      @Chad "awesome example of circular reasoning (begging the question)!!!

      Begging the question is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise (thoughts can be experienced only by brains that are alive) would directly entail the conclusion (a persons consciousness cant extend beyond death)

      May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Sorry kid, I gave you the benefit of the doubt of not understanding the difference between clincally dead and brain dead. The general rule is that if you are brain dead for long than a 6-10 minute window you're pretty much gone. It's not unheard of or impossible to be revived after that window is up, but it's rare. Trying to cite examples of those rare cases prove nothing other than those particular cases happened to work out while 99% of the cases end in death.

      However, your whole post relies on someone being declared clincally dead, which like I pointed out before means that the heart has stopped pumping and blood flow has ceased. This is entirely different than being brain dead and it's possible to still be relatively cognizant even if your heart has stopped.

      The case you cited above means literally nothing and the question you had, "How does the atheist explain consciousness continuing beyond brain waves ceasing?" Like I stated before, the simple answer is it doesn't.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad says: hm.. I guess so.. do you have a different definition 😉

      Yes Chad, I do have a different definition of "alive". A brain that is alive can record and retain memories. A brain that is dead cannot. I'm under no obligation to change reality in order to neatly fit to your world view.

      You call my presumption that memories cannot exists beyond the brain and my conclusion that therefore the brains are alive at the recording of those memories to be circular reasoning. Yet you happily make what would be similarly circular reasoning by presuming that memories can exist apart from the brain, then concluding that therefore it is possible that these brains were not dead.

      Why are you allowed a presumption for which there is no proof, and I'm not allowed a presumption based on the mechanisms of the human brain that have actually been observed here and now, in the real world?

      You can spout your mythology all you like, but I'm going to accept observable evidence over the hallucinations of critically ill people, any day of the week.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad PS

      What EnjaySea said isn't a fallacy, he's just pointing out what makes sense.

      Again, think of the brain like a computer. If there are files on the computer, then it must have been on in order to create those files. Asking if a file can be created on a computer when it's turned out because at one point someone unplugged the computer and when it turned back on there are files created around the time the computer turned off means the computer was still on and running when the files were created.

      To repeat with Enjay said, if a person has memories of the surgery, then their brain was still working at the time in order to create those memories. We know this because the memories are created and stored in the brain. If they're there, then the brain was on. it's pretty simple stuff here Chad.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      By the way Chad, test pilots, and those who train in centrifuges report the identical "heaven-like" hallucinations when under extreme G-force, causing a reduced flow of blood to the brain. They didn't even approach your definition of clinical death, but rather something closer to fainting than dying, yet have had the identical experience.

      People who work at the centrifuge test facilities even like to wear badges on their uniforms with a tunnel and a light at the end of the tunnel on them. That's how common this experience is.

      I won't apologize for not believing in the implausible, when there is still ample explanation for the phenomenon right here on earth.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @EnjaySea "Yes Chad, I do have a different definition of "alive". A brain that is alive can record and retain memories. A brain that is dead cannot."
      @Chad "circular reasoning 😉 "

      ===
      @EnjaySea "You call my presumption that memories cannot exists beyond the brain and my conclusion that therefore the brains are alive at the recording of those memories to be circular reasoning."
      @Chad "Correct!"

      ==
      @EnjaySea "Yet you happily make what would be similarly circular reasoning by presuming that memories can exist apart from the brain"
      @Chad "hmm.. no
      Medical science says person is dead, no brain waves, no blood to the brain (no oxygen), no heart beat.
      dead as a door nail.
      Person has thought during that time, person has thought while person is dead.

      seems pretty straightforward. Where do you see circular reasoning?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "To repeat with Enjay said, if a person has memories of the surgery, then their brain was still working at the time in order to create those memories. We know this because the memories are created and stored in the brain. If they're there, then the brain was on."
      @Chad "well, all assuming that consciousness cant exist beyond death..

      which is why your argument is an example of circular reasoning. It all rests on your assumption that consciousness, apart from the body, is impossible..

      🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad says: "which is why your argument is an example of circular reasoning. It all rests on your assumption that consciousness, apart from the body, is impossible.."

      I reiterate: "which is why your argument must therefore also be an example of circular reasoning. It all rests on your assumption that consciousness, apart from the body, is possible...

      May 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad exclaims: Medical science says person is dead, no brain waves, no blood to the brain (no oxygen), no heart beat.
      dead as a door nail.

      And yet this same person is walking and talking and telling us all about it. Sounds pretty damned ALIVE to me. I guess "medical science" must have got that particular one wrong.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      It's not circular reason, I think that's what's tripping you up. An instance of circular reason is the bible is true because the bible says it's true. What you keep believing to be circular reasoning is that the brain can't store memories without being on which is not circular reasoning but a conclusion drawn from a premise (the brain isn't working –> memory can't be made and stored).

      What you are asking is that I accept your premise that memory can be made and stored while the brain is shutdown. This hasn't happened and the example you gave does not show this. The example you gave at the beginning are two separate events (the person was brain dead for X amount of minutes. The person was able to recall events during surgery) and weave them together (the person was able to recall events during the surgery at the moment her brain was said to be shut down).

      Since your example does not say this, then you currently have 0 examples of a brain dead person being able to create and store memories within their brain and thus your premise that this is possible is all subjective, longing opinion which can't be corroborated and can be thrown out as the musings of a christian apologetic grasping at straws.

      Like EnjaySea already pointed out. If the brain is shut down, it can't make new memories. If a person has memories stored in their brains, then the brain had to have been alive in order to create and store that memory. Can you see the premise and the conclusion drawn or are you going to stick to your "circular reasoning" schtick?

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Hmm... Chad, you're suppose to be at your homework. At any rate, does consciousness depend on anything resembling logical operations? I would think such things depend on changes of state in something that can change state. For someone who has been disembodied, what might that be?

      May 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Chad

      🙂

      There is a difference between accepting that conscious thought can occur beyond the point at which a person is dead, when it is demonstrated that the person had conscious thought when they were dead.
      vs
      Stating that it is impossible to have a conscious thought beyond death, because consciousness doesnt occur after dying.

      If you want to assert that is impossible to have a conscious thought beyond death, you have to prove that there it no soul, no possibility of a thought existing independent of the body. That is, that mind-body dualism is false. That it can never happen.

      If I want to assert that is possible to have a conscious thought beyond death, all I have to do is demonstrate that it occurred. Which it did..

      May 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Hodor

      there is no point in arguing with chad. he argues for and from an agenda. his conviction leaves him incapable of thinking critically and free of bias, leaves him entirely closed off to other theories or explanations that are incompatible with his current belief system. if one cannot accept the possibility that god does not exist then one will always be trying to justify that belief in the face of more plausible explanations, never willing to accept them.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Wrong-o boyo.

      First, there have already been studies to try and prove there is a soul, they all failed. Considering we know how thought and memories are created and stored (I'll give you a hint, the organ that does this starts with a B and ends with a rain), pretending that memories can be created and storied in the ether without any physical function doesn't make any sense.

      Further more you keep bandying around the word "dying" but you clearly are still having trouble what it means to die in the medical sense. Being clincally dead (blood flow stops) means you have dead but there's a possibility to be brought back to life by restarting blood flow and keeping the brain alive. There's brain dead, which means the brain has stopped receiving blood and once it runs out of oxygen (6-10 minute window) it's generally lights out for good. When the brain stops, all other body functions cease as well, including production of long and short term memory.

      What you have shown so far as that clincally dead patients (people with living brains but no blood flow) are able to create new memories. This makes sense.

      What you have failed to prove is brain dead patients being able to create memories to magically transfer back into the brain if in the event it's resussitated.

      Considering you are making the claim (Souls exist and can create matter (memories) from nothing through sheer force of will), you must provide concrete evidence that proves it.

      This goes back to the whole "prove god" conundrum. You make the claim god is real but fail every time to provide empiracle evidence. I say I don't believe in god because there is no evidence to support a god existing. You demand to see my evidence that god doesn't exist (A logical fallacy in of itself). I point out that it's impossible to provide evidence of something not existing and you get huffy, through a hissy fit by copy and pasting unrelated things in an effort to prove god through assumption and then run away.

      Is this how it's going to be buddy? Or are you going to accept that until you can prove that a soul exist, the creation of memories can not be done outside the brain. If the brain is off, memory production can not occur.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Hodor has said: "there is no point in arguing with chad".

      However, although I do agree with Hodor, convincing Chad was not really my primary objective. My comments are always directed at those who might be reading the threads, and who have not, as yet, been fully indoctrinated in the Christian church. Those who might still be searching, and questioning these long-held beliefs.

      It's these visitors that I hope to reach, before the church has had a chance to grab them by the throat with one hand, and by the pocketbook with the other.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Chad

      Biggest problem a rational person has dialoguing with you, as it that you dont understand that these arguments are not sound.

      "The God of Israel is not real, because gods are not real"
      "There is no consciousness after death, because thoughts cant exist without the material brain"

      The part you'll probably never understand, is that they are both circular.
      In both cases, the conclusion is directly entailed by the premise.

      Begging the question is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise (thoughts can be experienced only by brains that are alive) would directly entail the conclusion (a persons consciousness cant extend beyond death)

      Now, you'll argue in refutation that
      A. "well, you employ circular logic" (even if I did, two wrongs dont make a right)
      or
      B. "no, that isnt circular, because if you're experiencing consciousness, you arent dead." (another circular argument, you are defining "live" as the ability to experience consciousness)

      amazing..

      May 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Chad

      oops,,, I forgot

      C. "gods dont exist until you prove they do" or "consciousness cant occur after dying until prove it can" (fallacious logic known as "shifting the burden")

      May 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Chad

      clinically dead, brain dead, dead-dead-dead state for far more than 6-10 minutes..

      "The studies are very significant in that we have a group of people with no brain function … who have well-structured, lucid thought processes with reasoning and memory formation at a time when their brains are shown not to function,..four were labeled NDEs in that they reported lucid memories of thinking, reasoning, moving about and communicating with others after doctors determined their brains were not functioning."

      http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=98447&page=1#.UZwIDqI4uJs

      May 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Science

      BULLSH_IT .................chadie

      #https://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/posts/10151583537145155

      May 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad, there's a 1957 Chevy orbiting the star Antares.

      How do I know that's true? Because you can't prove that it isn't.

      Sorry, but the one making the fantastic claim does indeed have the burden of proof. The only claim I'm making is that I don't believe in things that aren't proven. I don't have to prove that fantastic claims need to be proven. That falls under common sense.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • one

      😀

      May 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • one

      Then,I made the 1957 Chevy (Dramatic Music)...EXTINCT.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "Biggest problem a rational person has dialoguing with you, as it that you dont understand that these arguments are not sound."
      –That's funny that you think you're rational and still believe in god. Funny stuff bud.

      "The God of Israel is not real, because gods are not real"
      –Never said that, nor do I think any other atheist on that blog makes that claim. This is a lie.

      "There is no consciousness after death, because thoughts cant exist without the material brain"
      - This is definitely a sound argument. It's sad you don't think so. Conciousness, memory, everything in our body is controlled by the brain. The way we experience the world around us is just input from our senses, processed by the brain and then put together to understand whats happening in our environment. When brain function ceases (death is too broad of word, like I've already pointed out many many times). Consciousness, which is controlled by the brain, ceases. You have yet to prove in any capacity that this is not true, that consciousness is somehow separate from the body and can create new memory without any physical parts, essentially creating something from nothing (and we all know how much you hate anyone who believes something can be created from nothing)

      May 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      "The part you'll probably never understand, is that they are both circular.
      In both cases, the conclusion is directly entailed by the premise."
      - Um..... you do realize that conclusions always come from premises right? That's logic 101 chad. You can't get a premise from a premise nor can you form a conclusion without a premise. The only circular reasoning happening on this blog at the moment is, "the bible is true because the bible says it's true." Since you can't use a text to ve.rify itself, it becomes circular, the same way you can't use the a word to define the word itself.
      http://www.ilo.vephilosophy.com/viewt.opic.ph.p?t=152732 – This is a begin.ners guide to logic. Please take a gla.nce at it as I think it will really open to your eyes.

      "Begging the question is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise (thoughts can be experienced only by brains that are alive) would directly entail the conclusion (a persons consciousness cant extend beyond death)"
      Wrong, see the link above, This would only be begging the question fallacy if the premise weren't true. If you can show me how someone can experience thoughts with a non-functioning brain, then we can talk.

      "Now, you'll argue in refutation that
      A. "well, you employ circular logic" (even if I did, two wrongs dont make a right)"
      –You do, but clearly from above I didn't need to show that to you. Though I do appreciate that you imply that you are aware you are using circular logic. Thanks for that.
      or
      "B. "no, that isnt circular, because if you're experiencing consciousness, you arent dead." (another circular argument, you are defining "live" as the ability to experience consciousness)"
      - Not circular logic, please see explanation above. Considering you have 0 evidence to show that a body with a dead brain can still create and store memories, you have nothing.

      "amazing.."
      –Indeed it is.... we're both amazed by your thi.ck-headedness right?

      "C. "gods dont exist until you prove they do" or "consciousness cant occur after dying until prove it can" (fallacious logic known as "shifting the burden") "
      –Not shifting the burden considering we know a lot about how the brain works, how it creates and stores memories. Consciousness (well it's classified as regular consciousness or subconsciousness) requires a working brain. Since you have yet to prove that any sort of "soul" exists. The burden is, and always has been, squarely on your shoulders. You are the one making the extraordinary claim, and you have yet to back it up with any conc.rete evidence.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      The link you provided is bunk, pure and simple. It's a news article (which isn't a credible source to prove any scientific discovery). It doesn't list the scientists sources, methods or even discuss why there are still skeptics and their concerns (namely what I've been saying all along, that it's memories before the brain shuts down).

      If you wanted to do real science and employ scientific method. Go to a hospital, conduct different tests while the patients are completely dead with 0 brain function. If the patient wakes up and if the patient can remember having an out of body experience, have them describe the specific actions done while he or she was dead. Repeat until you get concrete results.

      Seriously, I would like to believe we have souls, that we could go to heaven and blah di blah blah but then you provide a completely ridiculous link and expect me to take you seriously? Come on chad.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Rachel

      @Chad, you @go. @tt@ boy :-). Give 'em some more @'s and :-)'s some =>'s too even if your own => is @diminutive :-). That's me boy 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • one

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Chad

      @EnjaySea "Chad, there's a 1957 Chevy orbiting the star Antares. How do I know that's true? Because you can't prove that it isn't"

      =>try to concentrate..

      This is a fallacious statement "God is not real unless you can prove He is"
      This is ALSO a fallacious statement "God is real unless you can prove He is not"

      Both are examples of fallacious shifting the burden (also known as Argument from Ignorance)

      ANY argument structured along the lines of "X is true unless you can prove it isnt", if fallacious..

      May 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "The link you provided is bunk, pure and simple. It's a news article (which isn't a credible source to prove any scientific discovery). It doesn't list the scientists sources"

      =>Gotta love a straight man..

      From that page: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=98447&page=1#.UZwIDqI4uJs

      The research, presented to scientists last week at the California Inst itute of Technology (Caltech)...
      Sam Parnia, one of two doctors from Southampton General Hospital in England who have been studying so-called near-death experiences (NDEs), told Reuters in an interview...
      He said he and colleagues conducted an initial yearlong study, the results of which appeared in the February issue of the journal Resuscitation. The study was so promising the doctors formed a foundation to fund further research and continue collecting data....

      May 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, That article nor anything you have posted so far is evidence of a god.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Science

      The horn-y red devil .............or the ..........666 beast has a hold of chadie ?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad ""Begging the question is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise (thoughts can be experienced only by brains that are alive) would directly entail the conclusion (a persons consciousness cant extend beyond death)"
      @Chuckles "Wrong, see the link above, This would only be begging the question fallacy if the premise weren't true. If you can show me how someone can experience thoughts with a non-functioning brain, then we can talk.

      @Chad "wrong, your missing the point about the relationship between the premise and the conclusion 🙂

      Begging the question example 1:
      1. You want to know why I failed the test? I failed the test because I didn't pass it.
      Analysis: 'failed the test' and 'didn't pass it' mean the same thing.

      Analysis "thoughts can be experienced only by brains that are alive"
      is the same as
      "a persons consciousness cant extend beyond death"

      hope that helps, but I doubt it..

      May 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "How does the atheist explain consciousness continuing beyond brain waves ceasing?" Having a memory of apparent consciousness is not the same thing as having experienced the things the memory seems to relate.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles ""B. "no, that isnt circular, because if you're experiencing consciousness, you arent dead." (another circular argument, you are defining "live" as the ability to experience consciousness)"
      – Not circular logic, please see explanation above. Considering you have 0 evidence to show that a body with a dead brain can still create and store memories, you have nothing.

      =>another demonstration of why reasoning like that is fallacious..

      The conclusion of the argument is that you arent dead. The premise "if you're experiencing consciousness" is assuming that you are only doing so because you arent dead.

      do you see that the relationship between the premise and the conclusion (the premise entailing the conclusion) causes it to be fallacious?

      another way to demonstrate circular reasoning, is by demonstrating that asserting the premise while denying the conclusion, is contradictory.

      For example:
      @Chuckles "There is no consciousness after death, because thoughts cant exist without the material brain"
      – This is definitely a sound argument. It's sad you don't think so."

      ok, lets use logic. Can we assert the premise yet deny the conclusion?
      Could this be true "There is no consciousness after death"
      and this be false "thoughts cant exist without the material brain"

      🙂
      the answer is no, the notions that ""There is no consciousness after death" and "thoughts can exist without the material brain" are directly contradictory

      The argument is circular

      QED

      May 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      FIrst:

      https://www.co.urser.a.org/course/int.rologic

      Seriously, read this before engaging in conversation further. Your ignorance on the subject of logic is astounding.

      So now, #1 – If you want to cit.e the studies, don't cite the news article on the study, cite the actual article. I guess it's adorable that you think what you've posted so far proves something .... it does, how horrible you are referencing studies.

      #2 "Begging the question example 1:
      1. You want to know why I failed the test? I failed the test because I didn't pass it.
      Analysis: 'failed the test' and 'didn't pass it' mean the same thing.
      - Yes, this is circular reasoning, but is not equivalent to what you are trying to equate it to. A better analogy would be, I failed the test so I didn't pass the class. P: I failed the test C: I didn't pass the class.
      P: The brain is not functioning C: The person did not experience consciousness.

      "Analysis "thoughts can be experienced only by brains that are alive"
      is the same as
      "a persons consciousness cant extend beyond death"

      hope that helps, but I doubt it..""

      - Sna.rk isn't going to help you, though I guess it'll make yourself feel better for a little, sort of like calling a teacher a dou.cheb.ag. It's not going to raise your grade but at least you get the last word right? Well The above "analysis" are just statements, you aren't drawing conclusions, you are just combining the Premise and Conclusion from above to create a single statement. What you did was pretty much show, If A then B then you restate so it just said A'.

      It's pretty easy chad, if you disagree with the conclusion (that you can create memories without your brain) prove that humans are capable of creating and storing memory outside the human brain.

      "The conclusion of the argument is that you arent dead. The premise "if you're experiencing consciousness" is assuming that you are only doing so because you arent dead."

      - Seriously, how many times do we have to go over what consti.tutes as dead. To move forward you must understand the difference between being clinically dead and being brain dead. Even so, if the premise is "you are experiencing consciousness" then the conclusion can be drawn "you aren't brain dead".

      "do you see that the relationship between the premise and the conclusion (the premise entailing the conclusion) causes it to be fallacious?"
      - I'm going to repost this just in case you didn't go to the link above, https://www.coursera.org/course/intrologic

      "another way to demonstrate circular reasoning, is by demonstrating that asserting the premise while denying the conclusion, is contradictory.

      For example:
      @Chuckles "There is no consciousness after death, because thoughts cant exist without the material brain"
      – This is definitely a sound argument. It's sad you don't think so."

      ok, lets use logic. Can we assert the premise yet deny the conclusion?
      Could this be true "There is no consciousness after death"
      and this be false "thoughts cant exist without the material brain"

      the answer is no, the notions that ""There is no consciousness after death" and "thoughts can exist without the material brain" are directly contradictory

      The argument is circular"

      - Oy, ok one more time just to be clear you understand logic, https://www.coursera.org/course/intrologic,

      Ok to give you a hand because clearly you need it.

      So you've made this analysis
      P: There is no consciousness after death
      C: Thoughts can't exist without the material brain (a redundant thing to say, but I'll use your terminology)

      Or, If A then B

      Then you said

      If A then not C (A being There is no consciousness after death and C being Thoughts can exist without the material brain)

      You're whole issue at this moment is that you believe a soul exists AND can definitely create memories outside of the human body but you have yet to prove this is possible. We know that the brain is the memory center, memories are created and stored there. Here's a couple of different experiments you might be able to prove this wrong. 1. If you successfully transplanted someones brain into someone elses body and the body retained memories the brain never experienced (i'm talking specific memories, not muscle memory), this would prove that consciousness can somehow reside somewhere other than the brain. It's also necessary to repeat this experiment a couple of times to make sure. 2. Conduct specific experiments (holding up flashcards, doin something unique) in hospitals across the US every time a patient loses brain function and for the patients who come back to life see if they can say what was on the flashcards or whatever the experiment might be.

      Talking about someones NDE without a rubric is worthless, which is why this pseudoscience isnt taken seriously and why the "soul" is still unproven. Read Spo.ok by Mary Roach, fascinating book on studies, both ancient and relatively contemporary, on the afterlife. She is pretty unbias and comes to the conclusion that she wants the afterlife to exist, so maybe it does.

      Overall chad. After you get acquainted with logic 101, learn the only one committing fallacies here are you. Then do a little research on the amount of studies that's been done on the afterlife, the soul and the human brain and you might, key word MIGHT, actually learn a thing or two.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad, Congratulations! We are finally in complete agreement!

      You said:
      This is a fallacious statement "God is not real unless you can prove He is".
      This is ALSO a fallacious statement "God is real unless you can prove He is not"

      I have never, ever once said that your god is not real. I have no evidence to suggest it is real, and no evidence to suggest that it isn't. For those reasons, I make no claim about the existence, or non-existence, of your deity. I simply say, and this applies to your claim about the soul living on, that I do not believe in these things, UNTIL they are proven.

      And yes, of course the second statement is rubbish. However, it's exactly what you've been saying about the soul all day long.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Chad

      yaaaaa!!! they figured out what circular reasoning is!

      May 22, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Near death experiences are seen by mystics and religious believers as a person experiencing actual death for a fleeting moment, and glimpsing the afterlife. They believe that death happens when a person's vital readings flatline.

      Skeptics and non-believers who have not seen evidence to support a soul existing outside a living brain, see the experiences as hallucinations caused by a restriction of blood flow to the brain. They consider death to be that point after which a patient can no longer be revived.

      Summary: near death experiences support your belief in the afterlife if you already believe in the afterlife, and provide no convincing evidence to those who don't already believe in the afterlife, or the notion of a disembodied soul.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Chad

      @EnjaySea "Skeptics and non-believers who have not seen evidence to support a soul existing outside a living brain"

      =>see studies listed above..

      If your response is, "well, they werent dead when they had that thought, because if they were dead they couldnt have had any thought", remember you now know what a circular argument is, and can identify that as such!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad, circular reasoning occurs when someone claims that their premise is true because their premise is true. In other words, A is true because A is true.

      I am stating premise A (memory requires a living brain), and an observation B (the patients remembered their experience), and conclusion C, (if memory requires a living brain and patients remember an experience, then they must have been alive). If one accepts premise A, and agrees with observation B, then that can lead to conclusion C.

      However, you do not happen to accept premise A, even though you do accept observation B. Therefore you reject the conclusion, and are free to do so.

      Yay!! That's how logic is supposed to work.

      However, it's not circular logic, just because you happen to disagree with the opening premise!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Chad

      @EnjaySea "circular reasoning occurs when someone claims that their premise is true because their premise is true. In other words, A is true because A is true"

      =>no..
      Circular reasoning, is a logical fallacy in which "the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with".
      Circular logic cannot prove a conclusion because, if the conclusion is doubted, the premise which leads to it will also be doubted.
      Begging the question is a form of circular reasoning.
      Circular reasoning is often of the form: "a is true because b is true; b is true because a is true."

      - Dowden, Bradley (27 March, 2003). "Fallacies". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved April 05, 2012.
      - Nolt, John Eric; Rohatyn, Dennis; Varzi, Achille (1998). Schaum's outline of theory and problems of logic. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 205. ISBN 9780070466494.

      ===
      For example: I am stating premise A (memory requires a living brain), and an observation B (the patients remembered their experience), and conclusion C, (if memory requires a living brain and patients remember an experience, then they must have been alive). If one accepts premise A, and agrees with observation B, then that can lead to conclusion C.

      remember our test?
      lets apply it..

      Premise: "memory requires a living brain"
      Conclusion: "patient must have been alive to have a memory"

      can we assert the premise yet deny the conclusion?
      lets see!!

      Premise: "memory requires a living brain"
      Conclusion: "patient must NOT have been alive to have a memory"

      hmm.. as you see, that results in directly contradictory statements.. So, the argument is circular!

      May 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad, my friend, you changed my argument in order to make it sound circular. Take a look a what you did.

      Premise: "memory requires a living brain"
      Conclusion: "patient must have been alive to have a memory"

      My original argument was:
      Premise: "memory requires a living brain"
      Observation: "patients remembered an experience of the afterlife"
      Conclusion: "the patients were alive during the experience"

      You changed my conclusion so to be a rephrasing of the premise!!! Yes, of course, in that case it would indeed have been circular!

      I could just as easily have rewritten your argument so that it sounded circular, but I won't because that would be pointless. Your original argument was not circular either. It was just as linear as mine:

      premise: "the soul and memory can exist outside the body"
      observation: "the patients remembered an experience of the afterlife"
      conclusion: "the patients accurately reported the true afterlife"

      That's just as linear as my argument. We simply come to two different conclusions because we start with two different premises.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Chad

      🙂
      Premise: "memory requires a living brain"
      Observation: "patients remembered an experience of the afterlife"
      Conclusion: "the patients were alive during the [memory] experience "

      lets apply our circular logic test!
      can we assert the premise yet deny the conclusion?

      Premise "memory requires a living brain"
      Conclusion ""the patients were NOT alive during the [memory] experience "

      since they are directly contradictory statements, the argument is circular!!

      May 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Science

      Red Rover............something NEW...........Chadie................with unicorn aye ?

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEowVBEQl88&w=640&h=360]

      https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/XW3H99PB

      May 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I'll rephrase my position for the sake of clarity:

      I don't believe in the afterlife because I've never been presented with any evidence to support it. And no evidence that you have presented, or that this article has presented, has convinced me otherwise.

      Thanks for chatting. The defense rests.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Enjay

      *Clap* *Clap* *Clap*

      Too bad Chad doesn't understand logic or else it might get through to him.

      Well here's hoping!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Chad incorrectly claimed:

      Premise "memory requires a living brain"
      Conclusion ""the patients were NOT alive during the [memory] experience "

      Since they are directly contradictory statements, the argument is circular!!

      Those two statements are not directly contradictory. In order to be directly contradictory they would have to, at a minimum, be referring to the same subject matter, which they aren't. One has to do with brain functions, the other has to do with the status of the subjects during their memory. How can two statements referring to two different things be "directly contradictory". Sheesh!

      Maybe he realized his mistake, and that's why we never saw anything more from him, and his endless circles.

      May 23, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Chad

      @Chad
      Premise "memory requires a living brain"
      Conclusion ""the patients were NOT alive during the [memory] experience "
      Since they are directly contradictory statements, the argument is circular!!

      @EnjaySea ""Those two statements are not directly contradictory.

      @Chad "really? 🙂

      please do explain then if memory requires a living brain how is is that that the patients were NOT alive during the [memory] experience.

      Good luck!

      May 24, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • EnjaySea

      I've answered your valiant attempt to resurrect your circular reasoning defense, in the main thread where you posted this response originally.

      Ever entertained,
      EnjaySea

      May 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      I'm still confused how you think this is circular reasoning.

      Enjay has already pointed out that in order for memory to be created, the brain needs to be functioning. If the brain is not functioning, memory cannot be made.

      Since you keep ignoring that the "studies" that you've provided never actually link the specific NDE to when the brain was officially not functioning, it stands to reason if they have memories or can remember events while undergoing surgery, it happened while their brain was still functioning, whether it was right before the brain shut down or right after the brain was revived.

      There is no circular reasoning here, no matter how much you wish it to be so.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn9a6_nycng&w=640&h=360]
      ...

      May 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  9. PRK

    Please check http://www.spiritlessons.com for more information on Heaven and Hell

    May 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Like a travel brochure? Any pictures?

      May 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Do they have All-Inclusive pricing?

      May 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Knights Who Say...

      @PRK – No. But you may go deep into the uncharted and mysterious forest and find me a ... (dramatic chord) shrubbery!

      May 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Ken

      Ni!

      Love me some Python. 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • one

      NO! NEE! NO! NEE!

      May 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  10. PRK

    http://WWW.SPIRITLESSONS.COM

    May 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      You're referring to the spirits that come in a bottle, no doubt.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  11. Rob

    The church wants us to fear what may happen after death. With out that the church leaders have no power. Its just that simple. If you truly study biblical history -not just the bible, you find that the church is just a human invention and the pope a man who has to wear a robe and funny hat to stand out. otherwise no one could tell him from anybody else. He is actually no closer to god than ted bundy or ghengis khan was. The bible actually advocates many sins, and NO WHERE is there a need in it for the papacy. It says in the bible that God is supposedly with us always and our body is his temple. True christians wouldn't need the church. But the church doesn't want them to know that. The bible is also full of errors -look at the commndments "thou shalt not covet thy niegbor his wife or his goods" then it says "thou shalt have no gods before me for i am a JEALOUS god. It goes on to say god is the one true god and no other EXISTS. So who is god jealous of while violating his own commandment? Trust me on this my dad was a deacon for many years. I've seen both sides and know the churches full hipocracy.

    May 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      Without guilt, christianity is dead in the water. Those who bloviate endlessly about sin and salvation are guilt pushers...and quite amusing in a watch-the-geek-at-the-circus manner

      May 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  12. AtheistsMorons

    I see these atheists morons will bring this blogs up to page 60+ soon enough. Go get a life and a job you losers.

    May 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Mirror Mirror

      Speak for yourself. At least atheists aren't dump and go cowards like you are.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      The irony is that we have lives and jobs... this is just an amusing distraction for most of us while at work... informing christards how stupid they are is a waste of time I know, but we all have our weaknesses...

      May 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      It's sort of like eating chips – you can't stop at one.

      But seriously, if a group of adults structured their entire lives around the Tooth Fairy, and taught their kids about the tooth fairy, and lived in accordance with the Tooth Fairy's Guide to Everything, wouldn't you think they were worth of derision?

      May 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Topher

      Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "The irony is that we have lives and jobs... this is just an amusing distraction for most of us while at work... "

      So you admit you're stealing from your boss?!

      May 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Knights Who Say...

      @Topher – Nee!

      May 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Topher

      I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!

      May 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Your gov't taxes at work, haha. However, I am able to do more than one thing at a time.... I am currently working on an intelligence assessment on SIPR, I having been working on a junior colleague's annual assessment on NIPR, talking smack with you, saying "Nee!" and checking/responding to emails on 4 different systems. What are YOU doing right now?

      May 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Atheists are intelligent enough to withhold judgement until there is adequate proof that something is true.

      Morons, however will believe anything they're told.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Azzhole, you really should try reading for comprehension. I readily admit that I do not have a job – I am retired, own my own home and have a comfortable income. I don't have to work and am able to volunteer to help my community. Of course, I do not volunteer for anything that directly assists any religious cult, but do donate via richarddawkins.net to non-religious organizations that help anyone, regardless of their mental delusions.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  13. Thoth

    A neurosurgeon can't understand the science behind his stress-induced dream? Go back to school. The mind is powerful and when it misfires (like during a seizure) all sorts of images and thoughts are randomly connecting.

    May 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Science

      Morning thoth.......................wounder what an MRI would show on CHADIE ABOVE ?

      Agree about the school issue !

      Peace

      May 22, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  14. Adom

    So this is what my bible says
    And it is the only explanation that makes sense to me
    When I see grief and sadness like in Oklahoma
    All the happenings that don`t make sense
    The bible story makes sense to me.

    Many years ago,
    When God created a world all good,
    Where there would have been no pain and tears
    The evil one came and said,
    `You have a choice use it`
    `You can be wise like the Most High`
    `Choose knowledge, choose to know good and evil`

    So why do we blame God when things go wrong
    When man chose to know both good and evil
    When I see all the evil around
    As well as the goodness of heroes shinning through
    Only the bible story makes sense to me.

    But there is going to be a time and a place
    The bible says
    When all the good will cease to be
    And only evil will be
    Evil like my worst nightmare
    Like a nightmare that no one can wake up from
    Like the darkest dungeon, the filthiest prison
    Evil that cannot be imagined

    Why choose this evil unimaginable
    When Love has made a way
    To a time and place with no more anguish
    When we will forever smile
    And all the senselessness will make sense.

    Only the bible story
    Makes sense to me.

    May 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Don't you think it a mite strange that God's fondest desire for His predilect objects was to keep them ignorant?
      Don't accept mythology at face value becuase you fear knowledge and understanding.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      What a fool believes, no wise man has the power to reason away.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • ME II

      Why would choosing knowledge cause "evil"?

      What is so wrong about wanting to understand?

      ... makes no sense... to me.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      My Bible says that god created evil
      My Bible says god condones slavery.
      My Bible says that ra-pe isn't a sin.
      My Bible says that I should kill my son if he's bad.
      My Bible also says funny things, like bats are birds (ha!) and that rabbits chew their cud (ha ha!) and that insects have 4 legs (tee hee!)

      From my Bible I have learned that god is a genocidal psychopathic monster who failed biology cla-ss.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Adom

      Don`t put the emphasis on the KNOWLEDGE. Re -analyze with emphsis on the EVIL. We chose to know evil

      May 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • RealityBites

      @ Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      The Bible paints an accurate picture of humanity – warts and all.

      Thousands and thousands of years after the Bible was written – slavery is worst now. We live in an American society that supports it (we just turn a blind eye to it).

      There are slaves – and they need God. I think the Bible is for them, not you. You've got your reward already.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adom
      Once upon a time, all of mankind spoke the same language and worked together towards a common goal, makiing bricks and burning them hard to build a mighty tower.
      But God didn't like that, so He destroyed the work and make certain that humans could never again communicate effectively, thus ensuring war and strife forever more.

      But in the 21st century, the internet is rapidly removing the old curse of Babel.
      Through our newfound capacity for instant, global communication we are learning to work together again, regardless of language or cultural barriers.

      Your God is a jealous diety – it says so right in the 1st commandment.
      He doesn't want man to seek knowledge and has demonstrated His disdain for our cooperation time and again.
      God wants tribalism, but we are moving beyond it.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • ME II

      @Adom,
      "Don`t put the emphasis on the KNOWLEDGE. Re -analyze with emphsis on the EVIL. We chose to know evil"

      First, It's a story.
      Second, it was the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If we didn't know what's good and evil how are we expected to know that disobeying God is wrong?
      ... makes no sense.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Adom

      Doc Vestibule, once upon a time, we tried to get to God on our own terms (tower of babel) and still do today and that simply, does not work. God is a jealous because he loves us unconditionally and desires of us the same. If you have ever fallen in love before, I am sure it would not be unreasonable to wish that the one you love, loves you back.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Adom,

      How is the tornado that hit Oklahoma in any way, shape, or form evil? It is a manifestation of nature. If it was "created" in any way then your god made it and is more proof that your god is a P O S.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Adom,

      So a bunch of ignorant bronse age people built a building and that threatened your god? Insecure much?

      May 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Bronze

      May 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Adom

      @ ME II.

      Some things may not make sense, and I can never claim to have all the answers. That is why I seek the one who as far as I am concerned, has the answers. I can only pray that you also find Him. Then perhaps, one day, it will all make sense.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • George

      Problem is, there is no sense at all to be found in the Christian sky fairy stories. None at all. If you weren't so stupid, you'd realize that.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Colin

      Adom- you understand that the World is round, right? And that heaven is not "up in the sky" such that God had anything to fear, even if your silly myth were true. You also understand that there were thousands of languages being spoken throughout sub-saharan Africa, the Amricas, Asia and Australia long before the years claimed for the construction of the tower of bable, right?

      Finally, yes, I do hope the woman I loves loves me back. I doubt I would burn her to death if she didn't though.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Adom

      ME II.
      Correction. I don't seek, I follow. He was the one who came to seek and save those who were lost.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adom
      Unconditional love does not allow for jealousy. The two characteristics are mutually exclusive.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Adom

      Colin, regarding the languages, you speak of it as though the theories of men you have accepted were a fact. My bible does not tell me that if I do not love God back, He will burn me. It does though say that there is a choice for each one of us to choose a reality which is completely evil.
      If you built a mansion for your loved one and you filled it with every good thing imaginable, and your lover decides she doesn't love you and would rather go with the dude down at the filthy ghetto, you would be broken hearted but there will be pretty little you can do about that.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Atum

      .In the beginning there was only the swirling watery chaos, called Nu. Out of these chaotic waters rose Atum, the sun god of the city of Heliopolis. It is believed that he created himself, using his thoughts and will. In the watery chaos, Atum found no place on which to stand. In the place where he first appeared, he created a hill. This hill was said to be the spot on which the temple of Heliopolis was built. Other interpretations find that Atum was the hill. In this interpretation Atum may represent the fertile, life giving hills left behind by the receding waters of the Nile's annual flood. As early as the Fifth-Dynasty, we find Atum identified with the sun god Ra. By this time his emergence on the primeval hill can be interpreted as the coming of light into the darkness of Nu.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Colin

      "Colin, regarding the languages, you speak of it as though the theories of men you have accepted were a fact."

      Of course they are a fact. You think the whole World spoke Hebrew until a couple of thousand years ago !!. That is preposterous.

      There were about 4,000 different languages being spoken throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea alone by the Asutralian Aboriginals and native Papuans by about 40,000 years ago. Ancient Chinese dates back to at least 10,000 years ago and we have thousands of dialects being spoken by the millions of sub-saharan Africans, Amero-Indians, Polynesians, Asian Indians etc.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Adom, But in your analogy, your omniscient and omnipotent god supposedly created the mansion, the ghetto (who knows why), and the wife. It didn't have to turn out that way – it was god's choice.
      Your omniscient and omnipotent god could have either not created the tornado that hit Oklahoma or prevented it from hitting a school and hospital or even the city. So either it doesn't exist or it's pretty vindictive.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Adom

      Colin, I will still maintain that these are the theories of men. And the bible never says that at the time of the tower of babel or before, hebrew was the language that was spoken.
      At the end of the day, the bible is God's love story to us. We can either accept it or tear it apart and reject it. It was, is and always will be a matter of personal choice.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What's a good love story without a little infanticide, genocide, xenocide, incest, human sacrifice, etc....

      May 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Colin

      No, it won't be a matter of "personal choice", it will be a matter of choosing between Greco-Roman mythology and reality. I mean, look, your Bible states the World is about 6,000 years old and began with a man and woman and a talking snake !!

      It includes a wolrdwide flood, every animal on Earth on a wooden ark, food (or manna) falling from the sky, people living to be hundreds of years old, unicorns, witches, superhuman strength, a man living in a whale’s belly (or a fish’s or sea monster’s) for a few days, a talking donkey, giants, a talking snake, a dragon (at least for Catholics and Eastern Orthodox), a stick turning into a snake, a river turning to blood, the Red Sea splitting and a dry rock spewing forth water.

      Rejecting that is not a "choice". It is common sense. How any grown adult can believe this absolute horsesh.it in the 21st Century is beyond me.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Adom, Despite what your friend Duursma claims most linguists do not subscribe to the biblical view of language origins; it was a feeble attempt to explain obvious differences in the peoples supposedly spawned by Noah.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Adom

      In Santa We Trust, Colin,
      My point exactly. We all choose who to believe. We can accept the theories of men or the alternative.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Adom, The question is why do you ignore facts and base your opinion on centuries-old stories and the pretzel logic required to "bypass" the inconsistencies therein?

      May 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Adom

      In Santa We Trust,
      I can ask you the same question turned around.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Adom

      My faith is as real to me as your theories that try to explain how things might have been 40,000 years ago.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Adom, I'm not sure what you're saying – facts are facts. Do you have an answer to the questions? Or is this a lame attempt at a Chad-style deflection? There is no evidence that the bible stories are correct and evidence to show that some are incorrect. Evolution is a fact. Linguistics establishes the evolution of many languages.
      I don't understand why in the 21st century you're prepared to live your life governed by the superstitions of bronze age sheepherders when all the evidence points to the fact that the bible is just a bunch of stories created by ignorant people to explain what was difficult or frightening to them.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Adom

      Archeological discoveries continue to point to the authenticity of the bible. If you are looking at evolution in terms of linguistics then I have no problem with that. The problem is when evolution is stretched to explain everything else and classified as fact.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Adom

      In Santa we trust,
      It is obvious that I nothing I say will change your mind and vice versa. So let's agree to disagree. I however want to submit to you that maybe one day, you might come to the end of your human theories, and you may have a need to reach to a higher being. At that point, I will sincerely recommend to you our Christ. Maybe you might be alone, but not really, because He will be right there beside you and with ten thousand of angels, welcome you to Himself. Cheers.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Adom,
      "Some things may not make sense, and I can never claim to have all the answers. ... Then perhaps, one day, it will all make sense."

      But I thought you said,

      Only the bible story
      Makes sense to me.

      What happened?

      May 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Adorn – To my knowledge, there is archeological support for various places and some events referenced in the bible; however, I believe it is safe to say there is no archeological evidence to support the supernatural events depicted and that some of more notable events are without evidentiary support, e.g. the exodus.

      Regarding evolution, there is evolution the fact, i.e. a change in the genetic makeup of a population over time and evolutionary theory, the explanation for extant and extinct biodiversity based upon empirical physical evidence and validated mechanisms stemming from every relevant scientific discipline, e.g. physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, biology, astronomy, etc. Evolutionary theory isn't "stretched' to explain everything else, rather, it is the only explanation that is both internally and externally consistent, supported by empirical physical evidence, validated by successful prediction, and still further validated in tangible applications (from agriculture to medicine).

      May 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Adom

      ME II,

      It makes enough sense now for me to believe that all the rest that I haven't quiet figured yet will fall into place.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Adom

      redzoa,

      I love science in all the aspects that you have listed. Empirical science is useful as a predictor of fact insomuch as it is stated as a hypothesis which is subsequently proven. Science becomes dicey when empirical data is used to postulate theories that cannot be substantively proven. In that case it enters into the realm of faith. And as I said before, if I have to use faith to understand our existence, I am better off trusting in the supernatural than in the theories of men.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Adorn – I don't claim that science or evolution can provide satisfactory answers to the ever present philosophical questions surrounding our existence; however, science and evolution have provided substantive answers, based on empirical evidence, as to how we came to be what we are. In doing so, science and evolution has effectively refuted specific factual claims of various religious/spiritual beliefs, i.e. the Genesis narrative and special creationism. To compare the conclusions of science and evolution to the conclusions of religious/spiritual faith is truly a false equivalence as the former has supporting, empirical physical evidence and the latter simply does not. There comes a point in which the rejection of actual physical evidence in deference and protection of a religious/spiritual belief becomes an exercise in intellectual dishonesty. In other words, such a rejection amounts to an unreasonable doubt that would not exist (demonstrable in the acceptance and application of other scientific theories), but for the need to preserve particular narratives associated with a particular religious/spiritual belief.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Adorn – I would only add that "proof" and "proven" may be applicable in math and formal logic, but these terms don't apply to science. Science deals in evidence, probability, and validation via successful prediction. Again, under the appropriate standard, evolution remains the only viable explanation for how our species came to be what we are today.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Adom

      redzoa,
      You take your theories as fact I take my faith as fact because it is an experience that I have proven for myself. Until you have experienced this faith and proven it for yourself, I do understand that it will seem like fairy tales to you.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Adorn – First off, evolution is a scientific theory. This is the highest level a scientific explanation can obtain (yes, higher than a "law"). Evolution is supported by facts, but more importantly, is supported by validated and applicable predictions. I frankly don't care what you believe in or why you believe in it. My objection is when someone, without adequate appreciation of the supporting physical evidence, effectively dismisses the entire scientific enterprise because they believe it conflicts with their unsupported religious faith when this same individual likely accepts the very same science in a different context they believe doesn't threaten their religious faith (i.e. intellectual dishonesty). But worse still, is when this individual then projects upon science the false equivalence of having a similar, insubstantial support as with their religious faith.

      Our positions are no more equal than are faith healing and the use of antibiotics to cure an infection. You would claim they are equally legitimate to the contradiction of all available evidence and reason . . .

      May 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Adom

      redzoa,
      I am not dismissing the entire scientific enterprise. Science has and continues to improve our lives. I just don't think it has any business in predictions except that which can be substantiated. Science is in the physical realm and has to stay there. How many times have so called scientific theories been disproven over the years. Countless. So when it comes to theories dealing with thousands if not millions of years and carbon dating and such, we should be wise and admit that there is a limit. As new infomation emerges even some of Einstein's theories are being found to be inaccurate. Science is only safe when it stays emprical. Beyond that, frankly, it is fairytales to me.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Adorn – Never did I suggest that science should move beyond the empirical, rather, I suggested your false equivalence in comparing your religious faith to evolution was just that, a false equivalence. As for bona fide modern scientific theories (actual scientific theories in the proper use of this phrase, not hypotheses shown to be false), please feel free to list them. But then compare these to the 10K bona fide religions, past and present, all claiming to be true, all with equal evidentiary support (i.e. none). At the very least, science self-corrects; religion can make no similar claim. Veiling your religiously-motivated rejection of science in the guise of conservatism is disingenuous in light of the clearly differing standards of evidence you demand, i.e. for science perfection; for your religious faith . . . whatever, it's an una-ssailable subjective mystery . . . Your argument is analogous to the juror who rejects the DNA evidence in favor of the defendant's claim that invisible aliens placed his bodily fluids on the victim's body. After all, you can never really know . . . so why not? Beyond the complete lack of evidence supporting the alien defense and the demonstrable support for DNA evidence, they're otherwise equal, right?

      It's precisely because humans are prone to fooling themselves, that science is more valuable than subjective intuition, particularly those intuitions which are little more than abstract extensions of our inherent anthropocentrism. One need only consider that the history of science is a convergence, i.e. regardless of geography or culture, science and scientists consistently and continually arrive at a single conclusion, e.g. DNA is the principal hereditary molecule, etc. The history of religion, on the other hand, is a consistent and continual divergence into ever more sects because there is no legitimate means to evaluate wholly subjective beliefs founded on mythologies cloaked in antiquity. The last word is yours, although I suspect if it comes, it will be little more than a restatement of your prior false equivalence fallacy.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Adorn – "I am not dismissing the entire scientific enterprise"

      Actually, if you dismiss evolution, you are. For evolution to be so scientifically flawed as you suggest, this would require that all of the scientific disciplines upon which the scientific theory is based are equally flawed. As noted above, this effectively means every branch of science, e.g. physics, chemistry, geology, biology, astronomy, etc. You are, in effect, suggesting that science, at its most basic practice, is unreliable. I can see this already in your "carbon dating" statement. Here, whether you appreciate it or not, you aren't attacking just a radiometric dating methodology, you are attacking our fundamental knowledge of physics and chemistry, such that these disciplines must be worthless. How else could one explain their consistent and predictable utility in medical and military applications, yet their complete unreliability in the context of evolution . . .

      May 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Adom

      redzoa
      thanks for giving me the last word. You stick to the arguements that most atheists make; that if the person of faith doesn't accept all the postulations of science, then it means they reject all of science. Something that is simply not true. To date science has not been able to empirically determine all the workings of the human body, space or matter. If all the scientific evidence regarding the universe and living creatures have not been fully understood, how then can scientists think they can explain human existence and the universe. Science has limits when it comes to explaining away something science itself has not understood. And may I re-iterate that this does not mean I reject the known aspects of science that gives us agriculture and medical breakthroughs, I wouldn't work in healthcare if I did.
      As to all the religions and how wrong you say they have been, I only speak for my faith not the myriad of religions out there. So ask me about my faith and I will discuss what I have experienced.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Adom

      redzoa
      Oh and you did say I should list theories which have been proven wrong. Well this link list just 10 of them.

      http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-famous-scientific-theories-that-turned-out-to-be-wrong.php

      May 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Austin

      I experienced supernatural revelation. I started having dreams about the old testament as I was reading through it, details were directly revealed in my dreams about what I was about to read the next day.

      The holy spirit is a sanctifying spirit the bears the truth of Gods word on a persons heart. Angels are also ministering spirits that look in on salvation with great joy because salvation is the glorious work of eternal birth through our God and spiritual maker.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Adom

      Austin, thanks for sharing, When it comes to faith, the quote, "A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument." is spot on.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  15. Elwood P. Dowd

    So go to Harvey, He'll answer all your questions, it's ok to have questions, but ask Him. He is the only one who could ultimately stop you from being a doubter...

    May 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Chuckles

      No problem, mind pointing me to where He is? You see I've been searching high and low for the guy but he's no where to be found. I found a bunch of people who claim to have found Him before but it seems they only found random things and said it must have been Him, so can you help a brotha out?

      Also the "He" in these posts is Superman right?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Hey, chuckles: did you try looking under the cushions on the sofa He might be there. Last week I found 75 cents there.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Attack

      YES! Instead of finding 75 cents though all I found was a cheeto and a couple of buttons. I also looked behind the door, under the bed even behind the refridgerator.

      This guy must be the hide and go seek champion of the world.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Chuckles: Behind the fridge?????? Crap – the guy's a pro! no wonder no one has seen Him!

      May 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Which God?

      Well who do think makes the light inna fridge go out, huh?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Elwood P. Dowd

      "mind pointing me to where He is?"

      Well I don't know where he is right at the moment, but I can describe him to you. In fact if you see him you can't miss him, Mrs. Chumley. He's a Pooka which looks like a big white rabbit, and as I understand it, that's something very old. But Harvey's not only a Pooka, he's also my best friend. Oh – if Harvey's said to me once, I'll bet he's said – Oh, probably a million times – he's said, "Mr. Dowd, I would do anything for you."

      May 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    Luis,

    "So go to Jesus, He'll answer all your questions, it's ok to have questions, but ask Him. He is the only one who could ultimately stop you from being a doubter."

    I would rather not talk to imaginary friends. If I want answers I would rather go with Google. At least I know that everything posted on the internet is true. I read that everything on the internet is true so it must be true.

    May 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If it is written, it is true.
      Therefore – talking snakes, donkeys and flaming foliage.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Which God?

      "So let it be written, so let it be done." Yul Brenner. One fine actor.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Athy

      Yes he was. But his name was Brynner, not Brenner.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Der Fountain

      I like Google.I think it's true.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  17. Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

    Christians seem to have a hard time understanding the proof isn’t proof at all if you can’t use it to prove anything. The first clue should have been that it only happened in your head.

    May 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  18. faith

    there it is again

    more dodo kfc commercials they now raise boneless chickens

    contact the fbi and lock these criminals up

    May 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Science

      You will enjoy this faith NO .............chagie too ?

      http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-1271125

      May 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Science

      Science books........videos.............trumps the 666.................beast.................or red horn-y thingy....does it

      NOT ........peachy ?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  19. Science

    http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-1271125

    May 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  20. Debunking the Kalam Cosmological Argument

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baZUCc5m8sE&w=640&h=360]

    May 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Mankind has mostly a linear 180 degreed mindset and many a person does fail when they try to envision a 360 degreed mindset. Many view our perceptivities regarding outer spatial variances as being of the linear aligned seasoning. Only but a handful of viewers might envelope their perceptions around the idealizations of multi-universalistic encompassing quagmires of past big bangs into present day big bangs onto future big bangs while many scientists are frugally withholding all but an individual big bang mindset becoming a recognizable conditioned rationalism of pre-spheroidal thoughtfulness.

      In the rationalisms of cosmological c o n s t I t u e n c I e s, many scientific theorists are of linear thoughtfulness and hardly ever indulge themselves with spheroidal constructs of ongoing spatiality being an ever constant and ongoing construct of steady states in big bang multi-functionalities whereby many universal constructs of celestial variables are seemingly being brought into spatial existence thru big bangs of plural celestial considerations. It therefor stands to reasoning that the celestial voids of outward space goes on outwardly onto the infinities beyond our subjective objections and even pessimistic reasoning skills.

      In humbling ways, I have for many years now, been haunted by psychological urges to bring to light what I sometimes call "The Spatially Constrained Areas Within the 3 Cosmologies of All Matter ". The first made cosmology was formed out of the plasma after our caused big bang was made manifested. This first made vicinity-driven cosmos was and is of the Atomic Cosmologies and first began as cloistered scatterings rising out of plasma fields creating our physical residency of big bang spatial accords. As the sectioning of spatial infinities converged and coalesced in multiples of unknowable big bangs, the yet unknown to us Cosmos seems to be ever growing in outward progressions of ongoing big bangs to eventual augmentations of similarities in graphed spheroidal undulations copying the smaller fragmentations of the atomized cosmologies that are nurtured into being and becoming shaped atom by atom. Thusly a new and bigger cosmos is being created out of the inner cosmologies by continual big bang conditionings.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.